Man found hanging in park left Facebook note

February 20, 2009 5:01:04 PM PST
A man found hanging from a park tree in an apparent suicide Friday had left a very public and ominous message on his Facebook page only hours before, hinting he was about to kill himself, police said. Paul Zolezzi's status update on the social networking site the evening before said he "was born in San Francisco, became a shooting star over everywhere, and ended his life in Brooklyn......And couldn't have asked for more....."

The 33-year-old was found by transit police at about 7 a.m. in a small park near the Brooklyn Museum and botanical gardens. The medical examiner had not yet determined an official cause of death, but police said there was no criminality suspected.

There was contact information on his cell phone for his next of kin, and he apparently had updated his Facebook status at 8:40 p.m. By Friday evening, the page had apparently been pulled from the site.

His page had been set to allow strangers to see his final note - a very public display on a social networking site that is the world's second-largest behind MySpace, with about 90 million active users. A call to a Facebook spokeswoman was not immediately returned Friday.

Zolezzi's mother Stephanie said she was too upset to speak when called by The Associated Press.

"I've just heard there are stories out there that are absolutely false. Please don't call again," she said before hanging up.

The Daily News of New York, which first reported the death, reported she said she was concerned about her son's well being, mentioning a failed relationship and possible drug use that lead to him leaving San Francisco.

The imprint left behind on his Facebook page was a poignant one. His posts in previous days seemed jovial, and he had been making plans to hang out with friends. One friend responded to his final post in seeming jest, asking whether he was dying, or simply staying in Brooklyn.

Zolezzi had apparently tried to find work as a model and actor, but described himself as an "entrepreneur" and had recently moved to New York from Oregon. He was cited once by police for having an open container of alcohol, but other than that he had a clean record.

Previous messages that may have seemed lighthearted to friends appeared darker in hindsight on Friday. One note on Feb. 9 may have hinted at a planned suicide: "Paul is going to be the first person ever to hang himself on the way out of Portland! Everything here sucks!" he wrote.


NEW YORK AND TRI-STATE AREA NEWS

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